The 9 Best Fishing Waders of 2023

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TripSavvy's Pick

Although relatively expensive, our top pick for the best fishing wader in terms of quality, performance, and multi-seasonal comfort is the Simms G3 Guide Stockingfoot Wader. We like the Frogg Toggs Canyon II Chest Waders if you're looking for an excellent entry-level alternative.

Waders are a fly fisherman’s best friend. With a pair of waders to keep you dry, you can venture into deeper water to target bigger fish; escape the casting restrictions of an overgrown bank, or get right out to where the fish are feeding. When choosing yours, you have plenty of decisions: heat-retaining neoprene or breathable, flexible fabric? Suspender-style chest waders, waist-high pants, or hip waders? Entry-level waders with a modest price tag or an expensive, high-end model with superior features and construction? To help you make the most informed choice, here are the best fishing waders across a broad range of categories. 

Note: We have chosen to highlight stocking feet waders in this article because they are generally the more versatile. However, many category winners also come in a bootfoot version.

Best Overall

Simms G3 Guide Stockingfoot Wader

Simms G3 Guide Stockingfoot Wader

Backcountry

What We Like
  • Premium Gore-Tex construction 

  • Patented leg seams afford superior mobility

  • Zippered organizer includes a tippet tender pocket


What We Don't Like
  • One of the most expensive options on this list

  • The warranty covers repairs for one year only


The G3 Guide Wader is a top-quality choice from one of the best fly fishing outfitters in the business. The hefty price tag is justified by a three-layer Gore-Tex upper and a four-layer Gore-Tex Pro lower, making the waders supremely durable and breathable. Use the top-access, zippered pouch with its removable tippet tender pocket to organize your gear; and the reach-through, microfleece-lined chest pocket to warm your hands in winter. 

Other highlights include front and back leg seams designed for an articulated, mobile fit; built-in gravel guards; and neoprene stocking feet treated with an antimicrobial finish to prevent mold and mildew. The stretch nylon belt can be fastened at one of two heights via integrated loops on the back of the waders, while the adjustable suspender system includes a webbing attachment point for your fishing net.

Price at time of publication: $600

Best Overall, Runner-Up

Orvis Men’s PRO Wader

Orvis Men’s PRO Wader

Orvis

What We Like
  • Extra-durable Cordura fabric shell

  • Multiple internal and external pockets

  • Ability to convert to waist-high pants

What We Don't Like
  • Athletic fit may not suit all body types

  • Replacement or refund guaranteed for 60 days only

The Orvis Men’s PRO Wader offers similar quality to our overall winner at a near-identical price point, which is the better investment is a matter of personal preference. Instead of Gore-Tex, the Orvis waders feature proprietary Cordura fabric, with a four-layer shell for the upper and a five-layer shell for the lower legs. A gusseted crotch and low-profile seams ensure comfort and mobility, while the anatomically-shaped neoprene stocking feet offer a close fit. 

Organization options include an external storage pocket with a water-resistant YKK zipper, a fly patch, and a daisy chain for attaching your line cutters. A roomy, four-way stretch interior mesh pocket for larger items and kangaroo-style, fleece-lined handwarmer pockets are also available. Finally, the waders boast removable knee pads, a PU-reinforced mesh gravel guard, and adjustable elastic suspenders with buckles that allow easy conversion to waist-high pants.

Price at time of publication: $598

Best Lightweight

Orvis Ultralight Convertible Wader

Orvis Ultralight Convertible Wader

Amazon

What We Like
  • Ultralight, waterproof nylon shell

  • Gravel guards reduce water drag

  • Anatomically shaped booties

What We Don't Like
  • Not suitable for cold weather

  • Not as hard-wearing as regular waders 

Orvis’ Ultralight Convertible Wader is perfect for summer fishing or if you prefer a lightweight wader to layer underneath on colder days. The waders feature a four-layer, breathable nylon shell designed to maintain performance while drastically cutting overall weight (a medium/regular weighs just 35 ounces). Magnetic snap fasteners let you convert them to waist-high pants at a moment’s notice. 

Although less durable than heavy-duty waders, the low-profile seams are reinforced in high-stress areas. The gusseted crotch provides excellent mobility, and you’ll benefit from plenty of storage space. The waders come with a zippered internal mesh pocket and an external storage pocket with a water-resistant zipper. There’s also an integrated, easy-access tool dock and fly patch. Choose from four sizes and four inseam lengths for the perfect fit.

Price at time of publication: $398

Best Neoprene

Frogg Toggs Amphib Neoprene Stockingfoot Chest Wader

Frogg Toggs Amphib Neoprene Stockingfoot Chest Wader

Dick's

What We Like
  • Very reasonably priced

  • Excellent insulation for cold water fishing

  • Reinforced knees for protection in poor visibility

What We Don't Like
  • Not breathable in warm weather

  • No storage pockets

Although breathable waders are often the more popular choice, there’s definitely a place for neoprene ones like the Frogg Toggs Amphib Neoprene Stockingfoot Chest Wader. They’re great for use on hunting/fishing expeditions; they’re more durable and better insulated (making them ideal for extended cold water sessions). With a thickness of 3.5 millimeters, this model stands out for its affordable price tag and excellent user reviews. 

Past customers love the high-back design, which allows you to wade deeper in search of bigger fish. Reinforced knees afford extra protection from unseen obstacles in the water while sliding gravel guards on the neoprene booties help to reduce water drag and retention. Prone to chilled hands? You’ll love the integrated handwarmer pockets. Choose one of five sizes in green or camo, or opt for the bootfoot version of the same wader style.

Price at time of publication: $85

Most Durable

Patagonia Swiftcurrent Expedition Wader

Patagonia Swiftcurrent Expedition Wader

Patagonia

What We Like
  • Sturdy polyester microfiber shell 

  • Easy conversion from chest to waist height

  • Wide range of sizes to suit all body types

What We Don't Like
  • Some dislike the no-stretch suspender system

  • Not for those on a tight budget 

The Patagonia Swiftcurrent Expedition Wader is one of the most expensive options on this list; however, most reviewers agree that the longevity of its quality construction makes the investment worthwhile. These are the brand’s heaviest waders, helping them stand up to hikes through rough brush; they also offer unrestricted freedom of movement thanks to articulated legs and a gusseted crotch. 

They feature 100 percent recycled polyester microfiber, a waterproof, breathable barrier, and a durable water-repellent finish. Single-seam construction and heavy-duty scuff guards add to their overall durability, while removable foam knee pads and handwarmer pockets earn points for comfort. You’re also spoiled for choice in terms of storage, with a horizontal chest pocket, an exterior kangaroo pocket, two drop-in stretch pockets, and a waterproof flip-out pocket.

Price at time of publication: $699

Best Splurge

Simms G4Z Wader

Simms G4Z Wader

Simms

What We Like
  • Waterproof front zipper 

  • Two retractor tool docking stations

  • Rapid waist-high conversion

What We Don't Like
  • High price tag

Retailing for a couple of hundred dollars more than this list’s overall winner (and more than six times the price of our budget pick), the Simms G4Z Wader is undoubtedly a luxury purchase. However, if you have the cash to spare, you’ll be rewarded with the brand’s most durable wader–a claim proven over 16,000 hours of field testing. One of the most noticeable upgrades is the waterproof YKK front zipper, which makes getting in and out of the waders a breeze. 

You can also use the buckles on the air-mesh suspender system to convert the waders to waist-high pants. The upper is made from three layers of Gore-Tex Pro, while a fourth layer on the lower section affords extra protection and durability. Keep your tools handy using the retractor docking stations built into the two zippered chest pockets; while also appreciating the microfleece-lined handwarmer pockets and antimicrobial, compression-molded stockingfeet.

Price at time of publication: $900

Best Budget

Frogg Toggs Canyon II Breathable Stockingfoot Chest Wader

Frogg Toggs Canyon II Breathable Stockingfoot Chest Wader

Dick's

What We Like
  • Multiple storage and attachment options

  • Soft, cool lining for added comfort

  • Available in a full range of sizes 

What We Don't Like
  • Unlikely to last as long as pricier models

  • The storage pocket is not fully waterproof

If you haven’t got the best part of $1,000 to spare, the Frogg Toggs Canyon II Breathable Stockingfoot Chest Wader offers a well-reviewed alternative for those on a budget. Retailing for roughly a quarter of the cost of our overall winner, these waders feature a 4-ply nylon upper with a waterproof middle layer and an inner lining made of soft, cool tricot fabric. The booties feature double-taped neoprene, with gravel guards included. 

Storage options range from a splash-proof, zippered chest pocket to a zippered flip-out pocket for smaller items. There’s also a D-ring on the top of the chest section for attaching your line cutters or other similar objects. The waders come in a full range of sizes from small to XXL, with some customization in fit made possible by an adjustable wading belt and Y-back suspenders. Both have quick-release buckles.

Price at time of publication: $75

Best Waist

Compass 360 Deadfall Breathable Stockingfoot Guide Pants

360 Deadfall Breathable Stockingfoot Guide Pants

Bass Pro Shops

What We Like
  • A cooler option for warm weather

  • Easy to get on and off 

  • Integrated, rustproof gravel guards

What We Don't Like
  • No storage options

  • Gravel guards may be difficult to fit over boots


Wading pants are a cooler and more cost-effective option than full-length chest waders if you don’t plan on going past thigh depth. These from Compass 360 receive excellent user reviews, with customers claiming that they’re both comfortable and great value for money. The pants feature durable, four-layer polyester, a waterproof PTFE coating, and a pair of integrated, double-taped neoprene booties. 

Nylon gravel guards with rustproof lace hooks stop water and debris from entering your wading boots and rubbing uncomfortably–although some reviewers report difficulty fitting them over larger shoe sizes. The pants are standard fit, with an elasticated back and an adjustable webbing belt that fastens using quick-release buckles. Choose one of five sizes, from small to extra-extra-large, and enjoy the peace of mind afforded by a one-year warranty.

Price at time of publication: $120

Best Hip

Frogg Toggs Canyon II Breathable Stockingfoot Hip Wader

Frogg Toggs Canyon II Breathable Stockingfoot Hip Wader

FishUSA

What We Like
  • Convenient for shallow water

  • Waterproof, breathable triple-layer fabric

  • Range of sizes to fit all inseams and thigh widths

What We Don't Like
  • Not suitable for deeper fishing spots

  • Fabric may be too lightweight for thick brush


If you liked the sound of our budget category winner but prefer hip waders to traditional chest waders, you’re in luck–Frogg Toggs’ Canyon II waders come in a hip version, too. They boast the same intelligent three-layer construction, with a lightweight, breathable, and abrasion-resistant 4-ply nylon upper, a waterproof middle layer, and a soft tricot inner lining. The waders include integrated, double-taped neoprene booties and protective gravel guards. 

To attach them, loop the elastic leashes over your belt, adjust as necessary, and fasten using the quick-release buckles. There are five sizes to choose from (SM to 2XL) to suit a broad range of shoe sizes, inseams, and thigh widths. Best of all, you can order confidently since reviewers mostly agree that the waders fit as expected and are comfortable to wear for long hours in the water.

Price at time of publication: $100

What to Look for in Fishing Waders

Price

There are fishing waders for every budget–the ones on this list range from just under $100 to roughly nine times that much. How much you should spend depends on what you can afford and your requirements. For example, if you’re a casual angler who fishes only a few times a year, a pair of entry-level waders will likely fulfill your needs. However, if you fish regularly or hike through thick undergrowth to get to your favorite fishing spot, it makes sense to spend a little more on quality waders that will last and be a better investment over time. 

Material

There are two main categories of wader material. The first is neoprene–an affordable choice popular with those who hunt and fish because of its superior durability for on-land use. Neoprene’s insulating properties also make it a good fit for winter fishermen. However, those who want the best ease of movement, comfort, and breathability should opt for waders made of high-tech, waterproof-treated fabrics like Gore-Tex or Cordura. Cheaper options in this second category include 4-ply nylon and polyester. 

Size

Wader sizes tend to differ from brand to brand, so it’s a good idea to try them on in your local fishing store, or if you choose to buy online, consult the manufacturer’s size charts and double-check your measurements before purchasing. Usually, waders come in various sizes and inseam lengths, and while some stockingfeet waders have one-size-fits-all booties, others focus on fitting a specific range of shoe sizes. Indeed, bootfoot waders come in specific shoe sizes. Most companies offer a return period, so you can swap sizes if necessary.

Style

Materials aside, there are several styles of waders from which to choose. The most popular are chest-high waders, which give you the greatest protection and allow you to go into the deepest parts of the river. However, if you tend to stick closer to the bank, you can save money (and the effort of getting in and out of chest-high waders) by opting for waist-high wading pants or hip waders. The latter is kept in place by leashes that fasten over your belt. Some anglers prefer these shorter options for tropical conditions because they’re also naturally cooler.

Frequently Asked Questions
  • When do I need waders for fishing?

    Waders are invaluable for any scenario that requires you to get in the water. This could be so that you can get far enough away from overhanging trees or brush to cast properly; or so that you can reach the spots in deep water where the fish are biting. With waders to keep you warm and dry, you can spend hours and hours fishing in mid-stream or out on the flats. Some boat anglers also use waist-high or hip waders for launching their vessel without getting wet.

  • How long should waders last?

    How long waders last depends on many factors, including how well they are made, how often you fish, and the conditions to which they are subjected. For example, if you regularly bushwhack through the backcountry to reach remote spots, your waders are more likely to get torn or punctured than if you only use them for fishing off the beach. Generally, a mid-range pair of waders should last at least three or four seasons with moderate use.

  • How do I care for and maintain and clean my waders?

    The key to extending your waders’ lifespan is looking after them properly. This means emptying the pockets and sponging off any dirt after each fishing trip (and rinsing in freshwater if you’ve been to the coast). Turn them inside out and hang them upright to dry; then, turn them back the right way around and dry them outside. You should never hang them in direct sunlight. When completely dry, fold them neatly and store them in a cool, dry place.

  • Is it better to get waders with or without boots?

    This is a matter of personal preference that will depend on how you fish. Stockingfoot waders are the more popular option; consequently, there are more models (and sizes) from which to choose. They are lighter, more comfortable, and more versatile because you can pair them with different wading shoes for different situations. However, bootfoot waders have their pros, too: because they’re a single system, they’re quicker and easier to put on and warmer, too.

Why Trust TripSavvy

Jessica Macdonald comes from a family of experienced fly fishermen, whose opinion she sought when researching this article. She also read reviews from industry experts, then compared a list of more than 20 products on price, features, materials, return and repair policies and user reviews. She chose the above categories to represent the greatest variety of wader types for all budgets and fishing conditions.

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